May 9, 2008
“You probably don’t even know the bluegill’s Latin name, which is Lepomis macrochrisus. I don’t care what its Latin name is either, but I quote it to shame those who can Latinize a whole batch of trout-stream flies but feel a bluegill is beneath their dignity.”
“Panfish Get No Respect”
Ridge Runners and Swamp Rats, 1983 [ Read Full Post ]
Today’s challenge is to come up with ideas for “reasonable” gun control. We know that anti-gunners are always braying about the need for “reasonable” restrictions on our firearms in order to create a crime-free society. Restrictions like getting rid of those nasty barrel shrouds, those nasty .50 caliber projectiles, those nasty Saturday Night Specials, those nasty…well, you get the point.
The inspiration for this exercise is this post over at Of Arms & The Law about the alarm over the muzzleloader “loophole” in New York State.
Here are my two suggestions:
In the spirit of recent news out of California, I vote for mandatory micro-stamping on all bullet molds. You know, to track crooks who like to “roll their own.” (Lee Precision, I’m putting you on notice!)
My other proposal is for mandatory tattooing of all gun owners. This law would require that we put the serial numbers of all our guns on our forearms. This regulation should appeal to history buffs.
What other “reasonable” gun laws should we put on the books? Your turn.
John Snow [ Read Full Post ]
My first rifle was my grandfather’s Remington Model 510 Targetmaster, as plain and perfect a gun as a 10-year-old could want or deserve. Though I later corrupted it by crudely mounting a $15 scope on its slim receiver, it had all the elements of a first gun: reliable, simple and capable of holding only one precious round.
That gun taught me about restraint, about judging distance and making a single shot count on squirrels, rabbits, dirt clods and tin cans.
This fall I’ve reconnected with my single-shot tradition, hunting with one-shot rifles on a pair of antelope hunts. While firepower can be an asset on any big-game hunt, I really didn’t need a backup round. A missed first shot on a West Texas pronghorn didn’t flare the buck, and I was able to slip another .308 cartridge into the chamber of the Merkel K1 and drop him at more than 300 yards.
Then last week I killed a dandy Montana antelope (pictured) with a single 85-yard shot from my Ruger Number 1 in .243.
Both guns are elegant pieces of work and while the Number 1 has nearly two pounds on the Merkel, both are light enough to carry all day over the prairie and nimble enough to facilitate belly crawling for the final stalk.
But why a single shot? [ Read Full Post ]
Last month I wrote about a bill that had been placed before Governor Schwarzenegger of California mandating that hunters must use non-toxic bullets when hunting in areas inhabited by condors. Now, it’s reported that Governor Schwarzenegger has signed the bill.
According to Safari Club International, “The law, called the Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act (introduced by Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara), usurps some of the authority of the State Fish and Game Commission to regulate hunting in the State. The purported purpose of the Act is to protect endangered condors from lead ingestion. The Act mandates non-lead ammunition for big-game and coyote hunting in condor range. The Act defines condor range in an overbroad fashion using deer zones and highways in an area of south and central California.”
But worse than the very broad range this act effects is that it “requires completely lead-free ammunition, which does not currently exist, according to testimony given to the Commission.” By the way, according to SCI, “violations of the Act can result in fines of up to $5,000.” [ Read Full Post ]
All this talk about first guns has me thinking that it is time for the Gun Shots regulars to pony up: show us your first guns, your favorite deer guns, your newest guns or any guns at all. Send your pics to email@example.com and we’ll run them in a photo gallery here and on outdoorlife.com. Be sure to tell us the story behind your firearm.
This is my daughter’s first gun (pictured)—a tricked out Ruger 10/22 that has been pimped out big time by Tom Hines at Tactical Solutions and by the Leupold Custom Shop. Check out the photo gallery HERE.
My own first gun was a lot less glamorous but very dear to me still—a Marlin Model 60 that I bought for a whopping $80 or so. I still have the rifle but to say that it is in rough shape is a bit of an understatement. My pals at Marlin have offered to refurbish it but to date I’ve declined. The rust and dings and other imperfections reflect the tough love I dished out while using it during my misspent youth. [ Read Full Post ]
Officials in parts of western Nevada are warning youngsters planning house-to-house evening excursions in pursuit of sweets and goodies to be on the lookout for lone, burly trick-or-treaters outfitted in furry black costumes.
That’s because the number of black bear sightings and conflicts with humans have skyrocketed in the area stretching from Carson City to Lake Tahoe during the summer and early fall--mostly due to forest fires and drought conditions there. The Nevada Department of Wildlife reports some 80 bruins have been trapped in the region in recent months, and eight problematic bears have been euthanized.
Some Douglas County residents say they won’t encourage trick-or-treaters to come to their homes because of bear activity.
“I usually decorate, but I’m not going to this year,” homeowner Marcy De Rose told the Nevada Appeal after a recent bear sighting. “I’m not going to encourage kids to come here because the smell of candy will attract the bear.”
Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Mezzetta offered bear-country treat-seekers some advice.
“If confronted by a bear, stay with others in a group, do not try to run away,” he said. “You can’t outrun a bear and it may provoke a pursuit. Give the bear a wide berth as you seek shelter.”
For more than 25 years, Churchill residents form a Halloween Polar Bear Patrol, so youngsters may safely collect treats on Oct. 31.
The special patrol includes a strategic perimeter around the entire town and utilizes manpower from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Parks Canada, local ambulance and fire officials and the Canadian Rangers.
About a dozen fire trucks, ambulances and other vehicles park with their engines idling and spotlights shining. Other vehicles cruise the streets to give children in this town of 1,000 around eight hours to collect bagfuls of treats and goodies.
Richard Romaniuk, district supervisor for Manitoba Conservation, offered his personal recommendation for the youngsters of Churchill.
“I’ve never seen a kid dressed up as a seal—but the message would be don’t dress up as a polar bear or a seal, “ he said.
Sage advice, to be sure. [ Read Full Post ]
Okay, we posted X-Ray photography
of firearms, some of which were of dubious authenticity. How about some bogus animal footage? Check out this video of a “showdown” between a mountain lion mama protecting her little one and a big ol’ bear.
Who knew that bears used head butts when attacking? Guess those claws and teeth really are just for digging in the dirt and eating plants.
Also, major kudos to the video’s producers for doing such a great job of getting at least two cameramen in position to record this encounter.
John Snow [ Read Full Post ]
Last week California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a pair of bills that will ban traditional ammunition and require firearms sold in California to include a patented, sole-sourced technology known as firearms microstamping. (Microstamping is a process by which a firearm's make, model and serial number are micro-laser engraved on the tip of the firing pin so, in theory, that information would be imprinted on any cartridge casing fired in the gun.)
The first bill was pushed through at the behest of anti-hunting groups that claim that lead ammo endangers California condors that feed on carrion. The second bill is supported by anti-gun groups who are trying, by any means at their disposal, to hobble the rights of gun owners.
What is so infuriating about the microstamping legislation is that the governor ignored a state-funded study by the University of California at Davis (hardly a bastion of pro-gunners) that called firearms microstamping a “flawed” technology. The study went on to state, “At the current time it is not recommended that a mandate for implementation of this technology in all semiautomatic handguns in the state of California be made. Further testing, analysis and evaluation is required.” [ Read Full Post ]
Okay, so Remington’s announcement yesterday of their first “black” — actually, Advantage MAX-1 HD Camo-colored — AR-15 style rifles, the R-15 series, isn’t exactly a bolt from the blue. I’ve been predicting the Remington AR product ever since Cerberus Capital Management, also owners of veteran AR guys Bushmaster, purchased Big Green a few months back. The first Remington high-tech rifles are aimed straight a varmint hunters, available in .223 and .204 Ruger with 18 or 22-inch barrels.
It probably doesn’t require a degree in prognostication and a pet monkey to guess that Remington will be rolling out an LE version to match their natty LE shotguns and bolt guns— probably in black but hey, one can never tell; according to the fashionistas, orange is the new black — in the very near future.
However, what put the frozen icing on the Old Firepit Below this week, though, is not from Big Green, but from Big Red. Today Ruger enters the plastic service pistol market in a big, big way with their new SR9 9mm polymer-framed, striker-fired 18-shot wondergun. And it’s not just that the gun is superb, which it is, but also that it is available…now…no, really…we’re not joking.
The usual modus operandi from gun companies is to announce a new gun with much fanfare, slip a few toolroom versions out to the gun mags for cover photography and then, a year or so later, actually deliver a few guns. By which time the hapless consumers, driven into a gun-buying frenzy by all the advance hype, have given up and bought Glocks. Ruger, though, decided to try something different.
They formally announced the SR9 today; yesterday they shipped 2000 of them out to the dealers. And the factory is in full swing production on Ruger’s first entry into the striker-fired sweepstakes.
How do I know this isn’t hype? [ Read Full Post ]
You’re 12 feet up in your treestand, bowhunting for deer, when suddenly a young black bear cub scurries up your tree, passes you, and perches on a limb above your head. Then, after it realizes what it has just done, the frightened juvenile begins bawling loudly for its mother.
Kevin Schulz of Ladysmith, Wisconsin didn’t have much time to think when he was faced with that scenario Friday evening. But he’s got time to reminisce about his ordeal now, as his wounds heal and he recovers to bowhunt another day.
Schultz, 42, found himself in a bear sandwich when a sow he estimated to weigh 300 pounds started up his tree to recover her stranded youngster. He first tried kicking her away and pushing her using his bow.
“She got me by the side and by the armpit and tried to drag me out of the tree, but I had my treestand strap holding me,” Schultz told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Then she tried to pull my leg. She actually pulled my boot off. I think she thought she had me.”
During the hand-to-paw combat, Schultz dropped his bow and was pulled out of his seat by the clawing bruin, but the safety harness prevented him from falling.
“It didn’t really feel painful, it just felt super scary,” Schultz said. “I felt if I fell to the ground, the 12-foot drop would have been painful, but I think she would have killed me because she would have gone after my head and neck. Everything I was trying to do was stay in the tree. As far as pain, there was so much adrenaline I didn’t really feel pain.”
After the sow pulled off Schultz’s boot, the cub climbed out of the tree and the bears left the scene.
Despite severe scratch and puncture wounds, Schultz was able to drive to his parents’ home about a mile away. They took him to a nearby hospital, where he remained until Monday.
The bowhunter said he’s now recovering from bite and scratch marks on his foot, ankle and thigh, and a patch of flesh “the size of a hockey puck” that the sow ripped from his elbow.
Schultz told the paper he plans to resume bowhunting when the whitetail rut begins in a few weeks, but he thinks he’ll probably use a new treestand location when he returns to the woods.
Can’t say we blame him. [ Read Full Post ]
If you haven’t heard the news, Remington Arms was recently acquired by Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity management company. (It’s the same company that bought Chrysler from Daimler-Benz). Cerberus also owns Bushmaster, and gun fans been waiting to see signs of “synergy” between the two firearms manufacturers.
At a recent Remington new product seminar, the company unveiled the first such venture--the new R-15 VTR Modular Repeating Rifle. Fans of the AR platform will instantly see the Bushmaster heritage at work. This is an important product launch for Big Green, as it really needs to start offering some new products. That’s no knock on the 870 or Model 700, but you can’t grow a company by constantly going to the same two wells. [ Read Full Post ]
How do you know when the whitetails are about to come in to rut? When you discover active scrapes in the woods? When you spot rubs high up on large cedar trees?
Yep, the rut's right around the corner, for sure!
It was about 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, when Bonnie McCullough and Brenda Adelson were in the process of concluding a vocabulary lesson with their class of 19 fifth graders.
"We heard this crash; I didn't know what to make of it," Ms. McCullough said. "It sounded like glass breaking, and I didn't have time to look too much, and there was this brown blur."
Without touching anyone, the deer charged straight through the room and headed through an open door, turning down the hallway.
The young buck's next stop was the infirmary, where he introduced himself to Rosalie Preuss, the school nurse.
"When he saw me, he started climbing in," Ms. Preuss told the New York Times. "I thought he'd back up, but he started coming forward, so I shut the door and went, 'Eek! Eek!'"
Something tells me nurse Preuss doesn't have a lot of experience with wild critters and the outdoors. Just call it a hunch.
The Asbury Park Press reports that police officers and several school employees finally captured the wayward buck in the empty cafeteria, using lunch tables to corral the bloodied animal, eventually guiding it out an open back door. Last seen, it was heading back into the woods.
No one was injured in the incident and we can only guess when the vocabulary lesson resumed, the words "deer," and "mating season" were all used in a sentence.
The quote of the day came from school principal Patricia O'Keefe, when she expressed relief that no one was hurt by the marauding whitetail.
"We are trained for all kinds of responses," she said. "We are not trained for a deer coming through a window." [ Read Full Post ]
This interesting series of images purports to be high-speed X-ray photography of bullets doing all kinds of crazy things. Are all these photos legit? Maybe yes, maybe no. But before I reveal my guesses, I want to hear from the Gun Shots readers. So tell us: Which images are bona-fide and which are as enhanced as Pam Anderson’s cleavage?
[ Read Full Post ]
Jay Gregory sent me a couple more pictures and some details on how he shot this fantastic 190" Midwestern Monster last Wednesday AM:
Last fall, Jay had hung a tree-stand set close to where he thought Splitter/Ghost might be bedding, but he was only able to hunt it once--one day in November--because the wind never was right.
Last Wednesday, October 10th, Jay and his wife, Tammi, made their way to the stand in the early-morning darkness. They had not been in there since last year, but they were excited because of the early-season north wind. (Just as I had thought, that north wind/cold front last week put those Midwestern bucks on their feet.)
Did it ever! Jay saw 11 bucks in and around some oak trees that morning; Splitter/Ghost was the last one to show. He had the giant at 60 yards and closer for 30 minutes. "By the time he got into bow range my nerves were shot," Jay said. The buck was chomping acorns when he shot him at 10 yards (50 yard track job). Tammi filmed the action.
The rack grossed 190 5/8, had 43 inches of mass and 17 scorable points.
"I admit I have a bit of an empty feeling now that Splitter is no longer out there," Jay told me. "When you hunt an animal for that long you get a great deal of respect for him. Splitter will hold a great place on my wall where I will pay my respects to him every day."
And that's how you do it my friends--the hard scouting, the smart hunting, the respect for the animals, everything. [ Read Full Post ]